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Giro d'Italia: Prosciutto Report, Stage 20
By Locutus
Date: 5/27/2006
Giro d'Italia: Prosciutto Report, Stage 20
Golden Hams of the Day.
  • Ivan "Pink Meanie" Basso (CSC). Basso wasn't happy with just riding through this stage defending his huge lead. Like all of the great aggressive champions, he wanted to go out and rip everybody's legs off. Again. When he went on the attack with Simoni on the Mortirolo, he had a look on his face like somebody had just said something bad about his sister and he was going to make them pay. The way he blistered up that final climb, he left no doubt who the best rider in the Giro was as he crossed the finish line 1' 18" before Simoni to win the stage. As he crossed the line, Basso held a picture of his baby over his head as if to say, "Hey Italy, who's your Daddy?" This put Basso's lead on GC up to 9' 18" over 2nd placed Gutierrez, a humongous amount of time by any measure. Basso has given the field of this Giro an ass-whuppin' for the ages, and nobody who saw his performance will soon forget it.
  • Juan Manuel Garate (Quick Step). Yesterday's stage winner went on the attack early, but his goal was not a stage win. Instead, he was after mountain points in an attempt to take the Green Jersey. Garate attacked at the right time, winning the first two climbs before the Basso-Simoni express blew everybody away. This gave Garate an 8-point lead over—you guessed it—Basso in the Mountains competition, so the classy Spaniard will get to exchange his Spanish Champion's Jersey for the Green Jersey tomorrow. The stage victory and the victory in the mountains competition will only be part of the Quick Step success: if Bettini can do what everybody expects and take the Ciclamino Jersey back from Basso, then the Quick Step boys will be all over that final podium. And did I mention that Garate climbed up to 7th on GC at 24' 26" behind Basso? Not a bad result for a classics team.
  • Sandy "Julius" Casar (Francaise des Jeux). Quietly, Casar has been climbing well in defense of that big time gap he picked up in a break last week. Today he was at it again, coming across the line in 7th at 7' 26" to move even further up the GC. Casar will finish the Giro in 6th place 23' 53" behind Basso. For the Francaise des Jeux boys, this is a coup that will give them a lot of morale heading into their home race in July.
  • Damiano "The Omen" Cunego (Lampre). Damiano had a crappy first couple of weeks, but he finally got it together enough to pull himself up into the top five on GC. He won't be on the podium, but the 2004 champ must be happy that he was able to find his climbing legs and mix it up with the best in this final week. Cunego ground it out today, pairing with Gutierrez in the chase of Basso and Simoni. They didn't catch them, but Cunego was able to take 3rd on the stage while snatching enough time out of Savoldelli to move up into 4th on GC at 18' 16".
  • "The Notorious VHP," Victor Hugo Peña (Phonak). His teammate in 2nd, Gutierrez, has been getting all of the attention, but the former Yellow Jersey wearer has quietly ridden himself into the top ten in this race. Peña was 9th on the stage at 7' 26", which was good enough to help him secure 9th on GC at 26' 27". Though he has had to do a fair amount of work for his teammate, VHP has still had enough in the tank to get stronger as this monstrous Giro has gotten longer. VHP is a nice man and a great rider, and it is a joy to see him get such a great result after so many years as a domestique.
Ham-Gazers Hams of the Day.
  • Nobody. I mean come on, did you see the profiles for the last week? This has been a murderous Giro in the mountains. Sure, Savoldelli lost his fourth place to Cunego, but he is going to win the Blue Jersey competition. Pellizotti had a bad day and gave up a couple of spots on GC, but he's still in 8th place overall. Naw, everybody who finishes this race tomorrow deserves a week full of nothing but simosas, backrubs, and quality time with their loved ones. Of course, they won't wait until the end of the race: the party starts tomorrow during the race. I love these Italian races…
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